The 900 Churches of Rome – Starting with the Church of the Gesu

By Joanne Natale Spigonardo

On one of my trips to Rome, I was amazed to find 12 churches in a two-block radius. It was a beautiful October day, perfect for leisurely exploration. I though that if I took a full day that I could explore all of those 12 particular churches. I was looking to find how rich they were in history and in art. It was a revelation to know that so many renowned sculptors and painters were to be admired free of charge. I thought that I would start with the Church of the Gesu. I particularly wanted to visit this church because I so admire the Gesu Church on the campus of St. Joseph’s Preparatory School in Philadelphia.

The Church of the Gesu on Via degli Astalli in Rome, is an amazing work of art in its entirity, from its fa├žade to the tremendous paintings and altar pieces inside the church. It is of the Baroque style and was designed by Giacomo da Vignola in 1568. It is the mother church of the Jesuit Order. Jesuits are known for their devotion to education, beauty, and art. The ceiling is a masterpiece by Giovanni Battista Gaulli and is called The Triumph of the Name of Jesus. It was inspired by St. Ignatius of Loyola and his teachings.

Many of the tapestries, sculptures, and paintings have been on exhibition in the past years in various museums globally. I hope you get a chance to visit the Church of the Gesu on your next trip to Rome. It is one of the hidden treasures of Italy.

I didn’t get a chance to visit any other churches that day, as it took hours to fully enjoy the wonders of the Church of the Gesu.

About the Author:

Joanne Natale Spigonardo is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania and has a long history of travel experience. Joanne admires the Renaissance, art-history, and women’s studies. She is also the author of the novel, White Widow, available on Amazon.

Photo by Oleg Magni on